Published Sep 19, 2018It isn't often that an album of electronic music offers up equal portions of dance floor bliss and dark ambient virtuosity. Bryan Chapman's debut full-length 7 Shadows and Iron Lungs does that and a great deal more.
Back in July, Chapman tweeted "You only ever get to release 1 debut album. Mine is coming 24th September on my @mntymntymnty label. 7 Shadows and Iron Lungs is 11 tracks long. I've never been prouder." No false modesty required — this disc is superb.
The clever Twitter handle belongs to Chapman's Monotony label, which opened shop last year. Its advertised menu of stripped-down minimalist techno with a dash of psychedelia will be worth testing in the year ahead. By comparison though, 7 Shadows appeals to a more advanced palette.
The beats are deep and rich, but it's what surrounds them that makes the album a standout. Layers of dark-ambient synth combine with drones and distorted noise to deliver multiple pleasant (and deliberately unpleasant) surprises. "Sand," for example, is all apocalyptic grit. "7" is a low-key horror show with the kind of tension that discourages late-night listening. Speaking of scary monsters, "Cut the Kids in Half" is more than just a Halloween treat. Chapman mashes up techno and 20th century electronic music to produce one of the more interesting tracks we've heard this year.
The disc closes with "Dead Shadows," a creeping, crawling perfectly nightmarish conclusion. Chapman's one shot at a debut is a bullseye. (Monotony)